The moment we are currently living has shown us that working together in coordination makes us stronger. The uncertainty surrounding the present and our immediate future–including the black clouds predicted by the IMF, with an 8% drop in GDP in Spain for this year–indicate the need for companies to strengthen (or even reinvent, through innovation) their relationship with the market, supply chain and stakeholders.
Given their natural characteristics, business clusters demonstrate an inherent strength based on this union and collaboration, that allows them to promote development, competitiveness and innovation. This is something that acquires special relevance when faced with the collective need to reactivate the economy.
In the context of these circumstances, collaboration networks are more powerful when they are digital, as they exponentially increase productive relationships among their members, and help to create more solid relationships between key players in the ecosystem.
The chart below shows, on a first level, the network structure of a cluster, and how collaboration between associated members brings benefits such as greater efficiency and dynamism. On a second level, the chart shows connections with the main actors that become involved with the network (legislators, investors…).
On both levels, it is necessary to speed things up, reinforce productive connections, remote collaboration, adaptation (innovation) and understanding in the wake of the changes we are facing.
Belonging and acting as a community will be key to rebound from the COVID-19 crisis
We bring you 10 advantages of digital collaboration networks to reinforce clusters, support economic reactivation and help to reconfigure the relationship with your different stakeholders.
1. More open knowledge and shared resources
When you create this type of digital network among your associates, a cluster is more effective in one of its basic functions: providing access to shared resources and knowledge. But it can also take things further by working cooperatively in real time on that shared basis ( 👇 )
2. Co-creation and remote collaboration
In a collaboration network like this, participants share proposals online and work collaboratively (they co-create) on those proposals. The entire ecosystem of cluster participants join forces and contribute–at any time, from any place–in finding innovative solutions that reinforce their activity.
3. Efficiency and dynamism
By multiplying the number of people and talents involved in finding ideas and solutions, the number of these also increases. Also, by collaborating in a shared environment, work is encouraged on the same priorities: there is greater efficiency and speed to bring solutions to the market, which is key for a cluster, but also to increase competitiveness of its associates.
4. Clusters and collective innovation
Network connections facilitate the cross-fertilization of ideas. They also take advantage of the available diversity (of talent, expertise) in a cluster: all its members share and learn good practices, as well as an appetite for innovation.
5. Remove barriers to grow in different directions
By collaborating remotely, a cluster breaks down physical and geographical barriers: it can work on a local level with greater impetus on projects that pursue relocation, internationalization of activities, or reinforcing relations with their surroundings.
But, along with these internal advantages, collaboration communities and networks also offer clusters other benefits in their relationship with their ecosystem:
6. Mutual confidence, Business as Usual
These digital platforms support the reputation of clusters in values like collaboration, innovation, confidence and transparency; these are also extended to reinforce understanding with their ecosystem of associates, investors, administration…
7. Access to new creative hubs and talent…
A cluster attracts talent to its sector or geography. But with a collaborative community it can take things further, by collaborating with other actors like entrepreneurs, startups or universities… no matter where they are. In short, it can use open innovation to bring together experts from various fields (legislators, researchers…) to, for example, jointly create or explore new business ( 👇 )
8…. And greater knowledge of the sector and its players
By creating a community around them, clusters can ask for contributions from their stakeholders to build relationships around common interests. For example, they can provide consumers with spaces for participation and make them become another collaboration partner: in this sense, receiving their valuable ideas and insights can help us know and satisfy their needs, especially in a context as volatile as the current one.
9… and more consumer loyalty
The advantage of counting with the consumer’s voice is double: the brand can offer products that are better aligned with consumer needs, but they can also increase consumer loyalty, thanks to the improved offering, and thanks to the fact that consumers feel listened to.
10. And finally: being part of a community to provide it with value
Taking full advantage of its area’s resources and talent is essential for a cluster, and this has an effect on the stimulation and wealth of its environment, from a financial point of view, and in other spheres: the current crisis highlights the growing importance in society of values like proximity or sustainability, and their relationship with local development and innovation.
Ultimately, operating as a community promotes the construction of a stronger community.